At the end of 2015, I made a promise to myself. That promise was to learn as many new skills as I could in 2016…
I’ve (obviously) always been into food and being able to photograph and style food well is a dream of mine. I have so many talented food photographer/stylist friends and I’ve always been envious of their skills. So I borrowed my mom’s camera, went prop shopping and started shooting. My first few photographs were bad. Like, really bad. I had no clue what I was doing and just kept shooting until I had a passable image. I got lucky with some shots and my confidence started growing.
Along with a few YouTube tutorials and this incredible food/photography online course I bought on Creative Live, I started to understand the photography part a bit more. Food styling is quite easy if you understand composition, textures, colour and so on. More on that in another post.
Next, I needed a camera of my own. My photog friends suggested the Canon EOS 1200D, which is an entry level camera. At this stage, I didn’t thinking spending more than R10,000 on a camera was a good idea. Smarter to ease into it! They all insisted that food photography is all in the lens and that the Canon 50mm f/1.8 was the best option. I trusted their advice and went ahead and bought the camera and lens.
YOU GUYS. That lens. That lens is EVERYTHING. The 50mm is basically a macro lens and the f/1.8 is amazing because it creates the best depth of field ever. (This is my very technical explanation of the lens.) You can basically blur out the background almost completely and focus entirely on the foreground. Best. It has made such a difference!
When I got the camera, I was shooting in AV and playing around with the settings, trying to understand more about the technical aspect of photography. Today, I plucked up the courage and switched over to manual. I’m kind of in love with it! I still have SO much to learn and am playing around a lot to understand the settings. I completely understand f-stop now – that’s the depth of field. The lower the setting, the more blurred the background will be. Easy. I’m now playing around with shutter speeds and so on, and am slowly getting the hang of it.
From what I have learnt, the most important part of shooting food is the light. I’m lucky enough to have a massive window in my dining room that allows for natural light to shine through onto my dining room table. It’s just a matter of finding the right angle. I do love a moodier shot sometimes, but lighter shots are beautiful too.
I shot the images below on manual. This first one was to test the light and prop setup.
And then, I added some Mexican chicken…
Looking at the avo, I probably could’ve used a higher f-stop, so it wasn’t so blurry. But I don’t mind this shot! I love the composition.
The next shot was photographed from a different angle, so the light was completely different.
I think my hands were a bit shaky and the focus is a bit off centre, but not a bad attempt. I like the textures in this one.
Which I love.
My last shot refuses to upload into WordPress, because WordPress hates me. Anyway, it’s pretty cool.
I have a long way to go and a lot more YouTube tutorials to watch before I am 100% confident with my shots. I’m lucky enough to have a client who is confident in my ability and is allowing me to shoot their stuff; and I am so happy that I am improving every week. It’s also pretty fun to have cool stuff to shoot quite often.
I’m building up my prop cupboard and my surfaces, so the shots won’t all have the same look and feel. I’m a lover of textured wood and buggered up enamel/steel things. But I’ll try and move away from these often.
So yay for learning something new already this year! Next, I want to learn how to flood and decorate cookies properly. Most because that looks f*ck off hard.